Still waiting to for more Tron Disc parts and to build it, but its coming together! Check out some of the parts and get a taste of the final Tron Disc.
Following on from the mechanical design on my Tron Identity disc I jumped straight into designing the electronics to go inside. Check out how I did it!
I had the crazy idea to try and design a Tron Identity disc. Follow along below to see how I did it and some of the decisions and processes I made along the way.
Tron is a science fiction franchise created by Steven Lisberger. The identity disc is seen as a key aspect to the franchise as the disc holds the identity of the program. The identity disc is sometimes referred to as a light disc. Some programs also use their light disc for combat, like Tron in the movies. The light disc sits on the back of the programs and there are a few different versions of the disc, each with there own colours. The main ones being black and blue for the civilians, orange for Clu, and white for Tron.
There is heaps of info out there about both, so feel free to have a look into it if you want to know more. Tron- Wikipedia
I had to come up with a plan to complete this. This project would probably be one of the harder integration projects as it will be combining lots of different areas and skills to make this thing happen.
So here is the plan:
- Create a disc that looks pretty close to the movies, so its is easily recognisable.
- Addressable RGB LEDs everywhere
- Custom design circuit board
- Custom software to make the most of the disc
Now with some idea of what I want, I thought I would jump into the first task, designing the disc.
I decided the best way to start the project would to be working on the physical disc. I scoured the internet to try and find information on the disc dimensions, and other details , with some luck to get me started.
After a few cardboard attempts at getting the right size, I went to a laser cut MDF template. This allowed me to check the sizing, within my hands, and across my back. The disc is made to fit myself rather than anyone, so some people that have different body dimensions may find the disc doesn’t fit them as comfortably. This gave me some rough dimensions of (223 223 34)mm , from that I rounded the numbers, to make dimensions appear nicer whilst designing, before jumping into the rest of the model. Leaving me with the current dimensions of 230mm diameter by 30mm thick.
I decided upon using Fusion360 for this project, for a few reasons:
1. I can share the files around and work from different computers,
2. It is currently free, and as a student, I do love free things 🙂
The majority of the disc was created with a revolve around the centre as I found that is the best option to create the general shape. I used Fusion’s inbuilt “shell” feature with the shell thickness set to 3mm creating the basic form of the disc. This took quite a few attempt to get to the final shape, with tweaking the revolve sketch dimensions and shape to get it all to fit together and look pretty close to the correct size.
The cut out sections for the lights were next. This comprised of a sketch with the desired shape with reference points of the shell to make sure it lines up in the desired locations. I extruded the sketch though to get the inner arc and the notches along the edge.
Next came arguably the hardest part.. the emboss. this was a tool I had never used before and previously was trying to use almost every other tool fusion had to over before discovering the emboss tool. I used the emboss too to add in the little details around the disc to make it look the part. Obviously the details aren’t extensive but I think still accurately represent the disc and concept.
I chose to leave out of of the main features on the disc, the inner connection markers. I chose this to give the disc a sleeker look, as well as to avoid the complexity of creating the notches. In an ideal world it would be possible to add them in, but I prefer the aesthetics without.
The next major part is the light diffusing sections. This includes the inner arc and the outer edge. The plan is to have these sections 3D printed using SLA, which means they will be returned at a high accuracy and tolerance. This meant I could model parts to fit exactly as I wanted and match the curves and angles of the disc so they appear as 1 section. A lot easier that sanding acrylic at a specific angle and requiring a jig.
At the moment the plan is to 3D print most of the parts, if not all. With access to multiple printers I feel this will be a great way to prototype the disc before outsourcing to higher quality printers and parts, with the aim for the parts to be SLA printed for the high quality surface finish with little to no post processing on my end.
The overall mechanical design was challenging. At time the software was not able to achieve the exact look I was after and I had to compromise. I guess that would be why most props are not designed in CAD completely and are sculpted.
Arguably the hardest part. It was a nightmare trying to squeeze so much, yet so little into the space. Then knowing something would fit, the challenge would be making sure nothing hit anything else.
Connecting the halves
Connecting the two halves together. The first idea would be to glue them, but I felt that was not the best idea encase I wanted to open it up again to show off the insides or modify the disc in the future, so gluing was the last option.
The main PCB was to be screwed into the outer shell, this left consistent points for the two halves to line up. I decided to try a mix of press fit and magnets to attach the halves. With a magnet being glued into a post and that post sliding over the top of the screw. This may not be the best option, but I felt it was a sneaky way to make the disc be able to separate if I wanted to modify it in the future.
Symmetry was a big challenge. Due to the nature of the disc I and design effort, I wanted to make the disc as symmetric as possible. This would allow for less time developing different parts, as well as a more balanced disc. This was relatively easy for the outer shells as they were the same part right up until the end where a few modifications were necessary to connect pieces together.
Centring the main PCB was next and was relatively easy with the outer shells being the same, the catch was the lighting. If the lights sat on the top and bottom of the PCB there would be dark lines where the PCB was. I solved this by making cut-outs in the main circuit board for each LED. Now this probably isn’t the best idea but I am going for looks and believe the soldering effort will be worth it in the end.
There is so much more to the designing phase than I lead on. I enjoyed designing this and hope I can manufacture it in the future.
Below are some images and some key features the disc has:
- 166+ RGB Addressable LEDs
- USB C and cut-out
- Magnetic securement between halves
- Screws to fasten PCB
- Connectors to connect all PCBs together
- Alignment markers and sections for printed pieces
Since the majority of the shell for the disc has been made, my focus will shift to the electrical design. Since I will need to package everything inside the disc, I need to know what is going into it before finalising the shell, connections and other mechanical requirements. Keep an eye out for the next update about all of the electronics.
Note: Not everything created is a perfect representation of the franchise. Items created have been based on the franchise with the intent to create similar items with a personal twist.
2019 marks the year of the UOW Motorsport’s first highly competitive electric vehicle. It was such a pleasure to be the Electrical Coordinator for the team leading an entire crew to success.
It has been a stressful 3 years of non-stop development for the entire team. Moving away from the Internal combustion category into the Electric Vehicle category in the FSAE-A competitions. This change alone has been a major learning curve not just for myself but the entire team. With new systems to understand and develop, as well as more rules and regulations to have to wrap our heads around.
Starting in 2017 with the first EV by UOW adequately named “Evie”. She made it all the way to the competition but missed out on competing due to construction on the accumulator. 2018 “EvII” followed with an even more successful vehicle with the car passing all the scrutineering checks and completing the all mighty 1 lap.
2019 was a different story all together. Making the change to developing 1 car, just the EV, instead of two was a big decision made by the entire team, but a push in the right direction. With all of our focus now on the 1 electric car the 2019 EV could fulfil it’s true potential.
Even with the massive ups and downs from developing the electric vehicles over the last few years, I look forward to stepping up from the Electrical Coordinator to the Team Principal to see what else the team can develop in 2020.
Some quick specs about the vehicle for those interested.
- Max Torque: 900 Nm at the rear wheels
- Max Power: 80 kW
- Mass (without driver): 222 kg
- Accumulator Voltage: 400V (6p96s)
- Independent Rear wheel drive (dual motor)
- Custom designed and built Vehicle control Unit (VCU)
I got a drone! I have waited forever to get a drone and I finally did it.
Once university had finished up for the year I had a little more time on my hands. I worked all the way up to Christmas saving every last penny I could as I had my eyes set on one big prize. I managed to save up enough money just in time to get it before the shops closed for the Christmas holidays. I literally spent ages researching and trying to figure out what drone to get for most of the year tossing up between a few different options and settled on the DJI Spark. It was only released in 2017 so it was relatively new but a perfect fit.
The DJI Spark is a tiny quad-copter weighing about 300 grams flight ready, which means it has the battery on and everything connected ready to take off and is about the size of an A5 piece of paper (143x143x55mm). The Spark is pretty quick too, with a top speed of 50 kph without any wind though, but I will say, even with the wind it’s still quite fast. The DJI Go app will warn you when the drone is battling high winds but will still allow you to fly the drone with caution. Flying in strong winds will shorten your flight time but with about 10-20 minutes of flight time, that’s enough to have some fun. If you get the Fly more combo you can get extra batteries and keep the fun rolling.
The camera isn’t the best quality but still is able to shoot in HD (1080p) and save that to the drone. Unfortunately, the video playback to your phone is worse and doesn’t record to your phone is HD but you will still be able to get the original shots off the SD card on the drone or through the DJI Go app. This means you can still get some high-definition pictures from the drone, but if you are using the drone specifically for aerial photography I would suggest one of the sparks bigger brothers, like the Mavic and Phantom. They have higher resolution cameras and are able to go higher and further than the spark.
I’ve taken my drone to heaps of different locations without it being an issue because of how small it is. The one thing that irks me is the range issue the spark has, with and without the dedicated controller. It never seems to perform as well as DJI quoted. But besides that, the spark is so much fun to fly. It is very nimble and quiet compared to the Mavic and phantom. I still can’t get over how powerful this little drone is. Check out some of the photos I’ve taken with it on my Instagram and let me know what you think!